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Cetaphil Cleanser, Facial Moisturizer and Cream

Cetaphil moisturizer and cleanser review
Physician Heal Thyself

There’s a reason that phrase is meant to be said rather tongue in cheek. We are known to be horrid patients. Case in point – Me. I have some mild eczema, mainly I tend to be very dry and itchy and if it gets bad enough I’ll turn red and scaly. If I moisturize like crazy I’m better off, and when I use my Olay Body Wash (which has about 17% Vaseline in it basically) I do better as well.

Having said all of that, what was I taught by other MDs for years? Tell your eczema patients to use warm water to wash (I take long hot showers), to pat dry and apply moisturizer within 3 minutes to “seal in” moisture (ok, I do that one). Wash only with a gentle soap (we recommended Olay for body, which I use, and Cetaphil Gentle for face which I sometimes used or I used Neutrogena Liquid which is also gentle). But the main thing we told them was to use a HEAVY oil based moisturizer. One that comes in a tub, not that wimpy stuff with a pump. Usually we recommended Cetaphil Cream because not only was it strong stuff, but it was non-irritating. I had used it one time in college, I remember liking it. But did I buy it for myself? No, I liked using a pump. I suffered in silence. I followed the directions for face and such, but ignored the most important tip (which cream) for years.

So, what happened? Someone included some Cetaphil products in a box they were sending me. It was like a little light bulb went off over my head, I had an “Ah Ha!” moment. Maybe, I should try these out and take my own advice. Maybe I would stop itching and feel comfortable in my own skin for the first time in years.

Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream

Obviously there is a reason that I was taught to recommend this cream to my patients, and why it’s a long time favorite of most dermatologists in the United States. The ideal moisturizer would replace the oils lost by the skin (this moisturizer doesn’t exist by the way), be easily absorbed, non-greasy and non-irritating. The Cetaphil Cream likely comes as close to this as you can get. There are other creams that replace oils and aren’t irritating, however most of them (Aquaphor, Moisturel and Eucerin primarily) are known for being very greasy and not absorbing as well into the skin.

I love this Cetaphil Cream. It is creamy and thick, with very little smell. It spreads easily and feels silky, but it absorbs very quickly into the skin. Once it is in the skin, you are grease free and super hydrated! Best of all, this cream lasts seemingly forever. I don’t have to reapply at night anymore! I plan to use this cream pretty much exclusively for now on, and I have already bought 2 giant tubs of it to keep me well supplied!

Ingredients (refer to the moisturizer post):
• Purified Water
• Polyglycerylmethacrylate (and) Propylene Glycol (humectant)
• Petrolatum (occlusive)
• Dicaprylyl Ether (emollient)
• PEG-5 Glyceryl Stearate (emulsifier)
• Glycerin (humectant)
• Dimethicone and Dimethiconol (occlusive)
• Cetyl Alcohol (thickening agent)
• Sweet Almond Oil, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Tocopheryl Acetate, Phenoxyethanol, Benzyl Alcohol, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Hydroxide, Lactic Acid.

Cetaphil Daily Facial Moisturizer SPF 15

This is basically the lighter version of the creme, plus some sunscreen. Granted, when you look at the ingredients they are very different, but from the consumer’s point of view this is a light, easily applied and easily absorbed moisturizer. It has no residue and doesn’t interfere with application of makeup afterwards. Perhaps the best feature is the sunscreen. This moisturizer contains Parsol 1789 (one of the best sunscreens on the market) and has a SPF of 15! This is a great moisturizer for everyone to start with, no matter what your skin type.

Sunscreen Ingredients: Avobenzone 3%, Octocrylene 10 %

• Purified Water
• Diisopropyl Adipate (emollient)
• Cyclomethicone (emollient)
• Glyceryl Stearate and PEG-100 Stearate (emollient)
• Glycerin (humectant)
• Polymethyl Methacrylate, Phenoxyethanol, Benzyl Alcohol, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Tocopheryl Acetate, Carbomer 940, Disodium EDTA, Triethanolamine.

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser

This cleanser was originally formulated for dermatologists, specifically to be less irritating and strip less oil from the skin. When looking at the list of ingredients, you can see that the surfactant (though a somewhat harsh surfactant, with Sodium Lauryl Sulfate) is rather far down on the list. In addition, note that only 1 surfactant is present as well (usually a second is added in order to increase foaming).

This cleanser is incredibly gentle, yet strong enough to remove all of my makeup without issues (with the exception of eye makeup, it really is not meant for this nor does it remove it). It rinses out easily and causes no irritation or after wash tightness. Again, this is a winner and if you are looking for a gentle cleanser, this is an excellent product to start with.

Ingredients (refer to the cleanser post:
• Water,
• Cetyl Alcohol (emollient, emulsifier and mild surfactant)
• Propylene Glycol (humectant)
• Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (surfactant)
• Stearyl Alcohol (thickening agent)
• Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben (all preservatives)

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About Me

I’m a doctor, a mommy and a bit of a beauty addict. If you let me, I can take 2 hours to get ready in the morning. Really. I'm on a quest for faster beauty that works!

Leave a Comment


  1. 7.20.11
    Leone said:

    Cetaphil products are wonderful AND inexpensive. I love the Gentle Cleanser and it lasts forever.

  2. 5.9.21
    Emilye Mansur said:


    I’m newly preggo. Is Soothing Gel-Cream with Aloe safe for pregnancy?

    Active Ingredient: Allantoin 0.5%


    • 5.9.21
      Christine said:

      Safe for pregnancy and nursing